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All In

My daughter went to the library this afternoon to study and ended up writing instead. Thank God because I haven’t written anything for NaBloPoMo today.

So, with no ado at all, it is my pleasure to bring you a guest post, written by my daughter, a chip off her momma’s block:

It was years ago on a retreat that I was first challenged to look at the book of Genesis 3 and what it means for women in an entirely new light. In verse 16, in the aftermath of the encounter with the Serpent, God says to Eve, “Yet your desire will be for your husband, and He will rule over you.” This is part of the curse of mankind, one of the consequences of that original sin. It is often referenced as a Biblical defense for man’s authority over a woman, but maybe, just maybe, the words aren’t so much a command as they are a prophesy, a foretelling of the way things will play out for humanity. God isn’t commanding husbands to rule over their wives or men to rule over women, He’s acknowledging that the downfall of woman is her desire for man, that throughout time and generations her desperation will lead her away from God down paths of destruction. I see it all the time. I hear it in the stories of the women who come in for counseling at the practice where I intern- it’s one of the strongest and most consistent themes there is. We as women are so prone to live out the sometimes implicit sometimes explicit ideal that it is better to have any man than to not have a man at all. We make a lot of bad choices because of it. We put up with a lot of crap because of it. We open ourselves and those around us up to a world of hurt because of it. We end up in horrible situations we refuse to leave because of it. Man rules over us because we let him.

The new perspective on Genesis takes it one step further to the possibility that God didn’t actually banish Eve from the garden. Chapter 3 verse 23 says, “therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.” Verse 24 continues, “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned over direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” Never is the woman mentioned. Never is the pronoun “them” used. No, I don’t know for sure that Eve wasn’t banished. Yes, it is possible that God intended for this curse to be all-encompassing and that His inclusion of woman either goes without saying or got lost in translation. But it seems to me that Eve may have had another option. If Eve was not specifically banished from the garden, she could have stayed with God. And if she could have stayed with God, her separation from Him was a choice. What if the only reason Eve left the garden is because she followed Adam out? I realize that Eve’s sin would have necessitated some sort of separation from God, so I’m not fully convinced that this is the way it all went down, but I think it’s a question worth considering because whether Eve left the garden by choice or not, I believe that we as women do have a choice. We have the option to stay with God, to choose him over men. But it won’t be easy.

There’s nothing wrong with men themselves. They are not the problem, here. Men are wonderful and uniquely created; loved by God and meant to reflect His image just as women are loved by God and meant to reflect His image. In fact, we need both man and woman for the full reflection. Man and woman together make up the complete image. God created man and woman for relationship with each other. He loves marriage and He loves family, so not only is there nothing wrong with men themselves, there’s nothing wrong with the desire for romantic relationships with them. A relationship between a man and a woman who are both following after Christ is a beautiful, sacred thing. But there is something undeniably wrong with consciously or subconsciously putting the desire for a man above all else, forsaking all standards for the sake of having someone to love.

This is my task for the present: not doing that exact thing. I hear God asking me over and over again to stay with Him and I want to more than anything, but it’s hard. It’s hard even for me, who constantly witnesses the disappointment that results from “any man is better than no man” mentality. It’s hard for me, who’s more passionate about standards and choosing good men and never settling than I am about a lot of things. I had an incredible man who was following after Jesus, and now I don’t. I thought the memory of my relationship with him would make it easier to not settle. I know what a good thing looks like now. And yet. Yet, I still struggle with the temptation to settle for the sake of companionship. Most men who show interest don’t phase me. But then there are the men who have something attractive about them, something that resonates with me, though they may not follow Jesus or love Him the way I do. These are the “good” men, though they’re not the godly men. They are the men who have me questioning everything, thinking “not having a partner to have my back is hard” and “maybe I’m being too picky anyway” and “perhaps having a companion is better than not having one.” Wait. No. That’s not right.

This is the mental space where I’ve been fighting and have to keep fighting. A “good” man will never be someone who can walk beside me spiritually or be my partner in ministry. He will never be about the same things, or want to live the same kind of life that I do. I will inevitably sacrifice part of who God has created and called me in joining my life with his. I will inevitably abandon some of my precious intimacy with the Lord in following him. Is it better to have a man like this than to not have one at all? I know the answer is no, but whether motivated by a desire for something as simple as a night out and physical chemistry or as big as assurance of a future that includes marriage and family, the temptation these days is to say yes to this kind of man. Sometimes that yes seems pretty harmless, but I can play the tape to the end. Those paths aren’t for me. I won’t let man rule over me. God is asking me over and over to stay with Him. He’s asking me if I trust Him; if He’s enough. He is. He’s more than enough. I just have to remember that.

#loftyideas  #Itaughthereverythingsheknows  #allin

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9 thoughts on “All In

  1. As to Eve leaving the Garden, I think Gen. 2:24 may answer that for you. God said that a man and his wife are to cleave together and become one flesh. He said it before the Fall. It would be pretty hard to do that if they weren’t banished from the Garden together.

    I once heard a pastor say that his most important ministry was to his wife; to see that she has the closest relationship with God that is possible. I have a man like that. He was worth waiting for, and whoever God has for you will also be worth waiting for.

    This is a beautifully written piece. You are indeed a “chip off the block.” I hope you will keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point Linda – all the more reason to be careful not to cleave to someone who might get you booted.

      Thanks, too, for your encouraging words. I’ll share your comment with my daughter.

      Like

    • I shared your reply, which she so appreciated in contrast to the long, annoying, mansplaining message she received via tumblr.

      “She’s a counselor,” she said, “she knows how to talk to people.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mrs. Boots says:

      Yes, I agree with the cleaving. But it’s a very interesting thought, and it reminds me that the sin is carried in Adam’s seed. I think this is how Jesus came to be conceived without sin — by the Holy Spirit rather than by a sinful man. His mother passed down no sin to him. The Catholics have taken this too far, in my opinion, by by stating that Mary herself had no sin. I think they felt that by declaring her to be sinless they were keeping the truth of His sinlessness intact. But it was unnecessary, since the sin is passed through Adam’s seed — not through Eve’s womb.

      Of course, I was born just as sinful as my husband (given that we were both concevived through seed of man) but I chuckle to think that ’twas not I who passed my sin down to my children! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • There is so much that could be said here. Adam was, after all, the first human creation; it was given to him to be the head of his little family. He was, therefore, just as much to blame. And he DID eat of the fruit. And let’s face it, without the man’s participation, there would BE no “seed.” Anyway, yes, it is an interesting thought. Certainly has made some of us think. As for Mary being without sin, if that were true, then I wonder why she referred to the Lord, her Savior in the magnificat (Luke 1:46.) She knew she was a sinner in need of a savior.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Great reasoning Mrs. Boots. I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating: Eve confessed her sin, Adam didn’t. Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed God. To the serpent God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…”

        So perhaps those who are at odds with the enemy are the offspring of the woman, the offspring of the confession, while those who refuse to confess are the seed of Adam.

        Like

  2. Mrs. Boots says:

    You are so smart in that decision to wait for the right man, girlfriend. It is definitely worth it. Brian and I were just today discussing the pitfalls of marrying the wrong one. Since we got married eleven years ago, more than half of the weddings we have attended have ended in divorce. And many of the friends we have who are together are unhappy. It is such an amazing (and terribly sad) thing that now, with the perspective of impending middle-age, we can see that it was all-too-apparent which matches were going to be happy ones. I really do not believe that statistic that divorce is just as common in the church — at least, it does not appear to hold true when I look around at the marriages of those who truly honour God compared to those who are atheist or only nominally Christian.

    Liked by 1 person

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